Fitted Tablecloth Tutorial

 

Last week, I created a fitted tablecloth for our kitchen table, and I love it! I was so tired of constantly scrubbing the table to get the the food off of it, and this makes it so much easier. It was really quite simple as well.

For the cloth, we have a few different ones (oil cloth, cotton, lined vinyl), but the important thing is to get something that is wide enough and washable.

Materials:

  • Fabric that is 6 inches wider and longer than your table (ex: if you table is a 36″ circle, you would get the width and length to each be 42″)
  • 1/4 inch elastic (enough to go around the perimeter, though you won’t use that much of it).
  • a sewing machine

Directions:

1. Turn your cloth upside down on your table and trace around the edge with a pencil.

Fitted Tablecloth Outline

2. Cut the material with a 3″ border past the pencil mark. I used my pinking shears for an easier cut so I didn’t have to serge or hem anything yet.

Fitted Tablecloth Stretching Elastic

3. Using a zigzag stitch, pull the elastic tight with one hand and feed through the machine close to the border with the other hand. This will give a nice tight fit.

Fitted Tablecloth Finished Elastic

4. Fit around your table and enjoy your protected tablecloth!

DIY Crib Skirts (Tutorial)

 

DIY Crib Skirt Tutorial - DoyleDispatch.com

Well, we knew that one of the focal features of the room would be the cribs. Why? Well, when you walk into the room… BAM! The cribs are right in front of you. So, we knew that the cribs needed to have quite a bit of style.

DIY Crib Skirts with Pleat (Tutorial) - DoyleDispatch.com

I fell in love with these Pottery Barn sheets, because, let’s face it, how can you not love those adorable ocean critters? Plus, I would be able to have Baby Boy’s crib match Baby Girl’s crib in the fabric pattern, but the colors would differ. Perfect!

Not so perfect. They were not available in the stores anymore. That’s okay, I’m sure someone will have them online! Well, that was true, as I could find them on Ebay. Unfortunately, they were quite a bit more expensive than if we had gotten them from PBK. Because these were focal points in the room, however, I was okay with a bit of a splurge.

Now, we needed the crib skirts! If we looked on Pottery Barn Kids, we saw that they had these adorable matching crib skirts. They were simple, tailored, and adorable! The only problem was that they were $59 each! Now, if that was just for one crib, I could understand. For us having to do 2 cribs? No way!

DIY Crib Skirts with Pleat (Tutorial) - DoyleDispatch.com

So I went online and found some easy DIY tutorials for the crib skirts. After all, they ARE just rectangles of fabric! Done! I’ll make my own!

Well, after I made that decision, I kept looking to find the best pattern for the skirts. Did I want a pleat? Did I want to keep it easy and just make it flat? Do we attach them with velcro or ribbon? Do I make all 4 sides attach together with a muslin that lies underneath the mattress, or do I make it adjustable for when we lower the crib mattress as the babies grow?

So, I decided that I wanted 2 colors (similar to the picture from PBK), and I would attach them with ribbons to the mattress springs (that ended up changing to velcro). So, I went off to my favorite local fabric store, Quilting Adventures. They are incredible there at helping to decide colors, matching fabrics, and advice for construction. They even let me come back with Tim to use their huge cutting mats and tables so I could prep all of my pieces.

We made some mistakes in the amounts of fabric, but in the interest of this tutorial, I will spare you those details, and instead I will pretend like I did it correct the first time.

Items needed:

3 yards of main fabric if about 45″ wide

2 yards of border fabric if about 45″ wide (you will have lots of this left over, but you need the length to construct the piece correctly)

10 yards of wide rickrack (the wavy “ribbon”)

Thread to match each color fabric used

Cut-able velcro (one side sticky, one side sewable)

Sewing machine, rotary cutter, pins, iron, ruler, and other sewing necessities

 

Steps:

1. Pick out your fabric. Hopefully you have someplace as amazing as Quilting Adventures to help with this step (or some crafty friends to bounce ideas off of).

2.  Measure your crib and figure out how much you will need of each fabric. Note: these measurements are NOT the cribs themselves, but the mattress base, where you will attach the skirts. The following measurements are based off of our cribs (Pottery Barn Kendall cribs):

Crib mattress length/finished length: 51″
Length with 4″ added due to pleating: 55″
Length with seam allowance added: 57″

Crib mattress width/finished width: 26″
Width with 4″ added due to pleating: 30″
Width with seam allowance added: 32″

Height of main fabric: 18.5″ final, 20″ including seam allowance

Height of border fabric: 4″ final, 6″ including seam allowance

DIY Crib Skirts with Pleat (Tutorial) - DoyleDispatch.com

Please note: This picture has incorrect measurements, though it was extremely helpful in figuring out how much of each fabric I would need.

3. Cut the fabric according to your crib.

Short side:
2 sections of solid blue 6″ x 32″ *
2 sections of cross-hatch blue 20″ x 32″ *

Long side:
2 sections of solid blue 6″ x 57″ *
2 sections of cross-hatch blue 20″ x 57″ *

*Repeat with pink versions

4. Line up the right-sides of the fabric together, and sew each of the the solid borders to the patterned pieces. These will create your 4 main pieces that will be the sides for your crib.

DIY Crib Skirts with Pleat (Tutorial) - DoyleDispatch.com

 

DIY Crib Skirts with Pleat (Tutorial) - DoyleDispatch.com

DIY Crib Skirts with Pleat (Tutorial) - DoyleDispatch.com

5. Iron the seams to one side.

DIY Crib Skirts with Pleat (Tutorial) - DoyleDispatch.com

6. Measure out 4″ from the seam that connects the two fabrics together. I have this nifty tool that allows you to line up and measure easily. I highly recommend getting it if you like exact measurements!

DIY Crib Skirts with Pleat (Tutorial) - DoyleDispatch.com

7. Pin and sew the bottom hem. If you have lots of extra fabric like I did, trim off the excess.

DIY Crib Skirts with Pleat (Tutorial) - DoyleDispatch.com

8. This is a good time to go back to your cribs and make sure you know exactly how much room you have from the mattress to the floor. Measure carefully. This will tell you how much of a finished piece you need. Pin, iron flat, and sew the top hem for the skirt. I was able to fold the fabric 0.5″ down, and I sewed a .25″ seam allowance.

DIY Crib Skirts with Pleat (Tutorial) - DoyleDispatch.com

9. Pin, iron flat, and sew the side hems for the skirt. You do not need to measure here, as you can fix any issue when you create your pleats.

DIY Crib Skirts with Pleat (Tutorial) - DoyleDispatch.com

10. Measure your current finished skirt. It should be longer than you need length-wise, but the height should be exact from mattress to floor. Mark the length of each section. You will then need to do a little math:

[Length of the fabric skirt section] – [Length of the mattress] = P

P stands for Amount of Material Leftover for Pleats

Then do: P / 4 = L

L stands for Amount For Each Section of the Pleats

So, as an example, we had a finished length of the fabric skirt section of 55.75″. We subtracted the length of the mattress (51″). We then divided that by 4 to equal 1 1/8. So, each section of the pleats needed to be 1 and 1/8 inch long.

11. Fold the skirt in half to find the center. Mark it with a pin. Using your ruler, measure out 1 and 1/8 inches (or whatever your “L” is), and mark it with a pin. You will need to have 5 pins total, making 4 different sections.

DIY Crib Skirts with Pleat (Tutorial) - DoyleDispatch.com

12. Now, you have to do some folding and ironing. Use the pins to mark the fold lines and create an accordion fold with the fabric. Pin in place. Use your iron to make creases that go down the entire height of the fabric.

DIY Crib Skirts with Pleat (Tutorial) - DoyleDispatch.com

DIY Crib Skirts with Pleat (Tutorial) - DoyleDispatch.com

13. Sew the top of the pleat.

DIY Crib Skirts with Pleat (Tutorial) - DoyleDispatch.com

14. Change your thread color to white and sew on the rickrack over the seam that separates the two fabrics.

DIY Crib Skirts with Pleat (Tutorial) - DoyleDispatch.com

15. On the ends, fold over and sew the ends of the rickrack to the back of the fabric.

DIY Crib Skirts with Pleat (Tutorial) - DoyleDispatch.com

16. Iron the skirt to make it crisp and clean.

17. Attach velcro to the top of the crib skirt and to the crib itself. For the shorter sections, I used 3 pieces of 2″ velcro. For the longer sides, I used 5 pieces of 2″ velcro. Attach to the crib and enjoy your skirts!

DIY Crib Skirts with Pleat (Tutorial) - DoyleDispatch.com

 

DIY Crib Skirts with Pleat (Tutorial) - DoyleDispatch.com

Hints and Tips:

When dealing with rickrack or ribbon, I learned that you can run a flame quickly underneath the unfinished end of the ribbon. This will make sure it doesn’t fray.

You may find that (like me) you need to tack some spots of the pleats down, so you can keep that crisp look. It all depends on your material and how it lays flat. You may have to tack more on some spots than others.

Measure, measure, measure! I am anxious and I like to finish projects. Sometimes, I cut corners. This is one that will create far fewer headaches if you really measure well at first.

Don’t be afraid to diagram! Allow yourself to draw a diagram of how you want it to look. Start with the finished product and work backwards to add seam allowances. Planning in the beginning will save you time (and money) in the long-run.

 

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My New Brother (Sewing Machine, That Is)

Last week, as I was working on my very first quilt (post to come once it is finished), I was working on the quilting step and the needle decided to slow down. Then it went even slower. Then it stopped and started buzzing. I’m no expert, but that buzzing sound did not give me the best feeling. It was at that point that I decided that my wonderful Singer model 1120, which was a factory refurbished machine gift from my amazing mom in 2004, was no longer with us. Yes, I could probably bring it to get it serviced, but chances are that it would cost much more than the machine was worth. I then started the search for a replacement.

After a post on Facebook, I got recommendations from friends to look at Bernina, Babylock, and Husquvarna/Viking. To be honest, at that point I thought I would still have a year to look and save up. I dreamed big. I visited the local Bernina store, and I fell in love with the Artista 650 (sewing and embroidery). Of course, this was a $5,700 machine (on sale for $4000). Yes, that was not happening. I was not going from a $99 machine to $5,700. A girl can dream, can’t she?

I then went to our local Babylock store, and I LOVED the Grace ($400) and Elizabeth ($800). I loved the way they worked, sounded, and looked. Now, the questions was just: which one? After talking with Tim, we decided to go with Grace. That would give me a machine to work towards.

Then, while visiting our families in Charlottesville, we visited Les Fabriques. I love this store! When I was in elementary school, I took a summer camp with them (and I loved those p.j. pants and shirt that I sewed there). They have the best material and customer service there. They sell Pfaff and Brother there (the Project Runway limited edition line). Turns out, the company that makes Babylock also makes Brother, and two of the machines from the PRW line are the exact same machines as Elizabeth and Grace. The Grace equivalent sold for about $600, so that was out (why buy the Brother version when I could get Babylock for $200 less?). The Elizabeth version sold for $800, but Carla (the owner), went to crunch some numbers to see what she could do.

http://www.brother-usa.com/homesewing/modeldetail.aspx?PRODUCTID=NS80

She came back with a great deal, but she would still have to order the machine. When I explained that I was anxious to finish the quilt that I had started, she offered that we could buy the floor model. It was just used for 2 weeks of camp, and I would still get the warranty, all of the original parts, the box, and the 1 year free service for $525. I was thrilled, and the Brother Innov-is 80 is mine! I love it! Look at that beautiful machine in action!

20120624-211621.jpg

-80 stitches
-10 buttonholes
-built-in needle threader
-drop-in bobbin
-computerized
-auto needle up/down
-tons of different feet